Thursday, 22 September 2005

The Coming of Age of a Spooky Kid

I like his music so much that I decided I just had to read his autobiography. The Long Hard Road Out of Hell chronicles the life of Marilyn Manson (a.k.a. Brian Warner) from his childhood up through the release of AntiChrist Superstar and his band's 1997 tour. I've seen enough interviews with Marilyn Manson not to be particularly surprised that he is intelligent and can write well. For a short time, he was actually a rock journalist. Manson grew up in Ohio, moved to Florida after graduating from high school, spent some time in college and writing, and then went on to fame and fortune after much effort with his band Marilyn Manson (originally called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids). I often wondered why Manson was so obsessed with themes relating to Christianity (or anti-Christianity, as it may be), but all became clear after reading about his experiences attending Christian school up through the 10th grade. Did you all see the movie Saved? Well, his description of his childhood sounded just as frightening as what you see in that movie. :-)

I also opened my mind a little bit. Learning about Manson's experiences with philosophical Satanism spurred me to read up on the subject, and I have to admit that I believed a whole lot of fallacies about the religion that just weren't true. I am ashamed to say that I've been just as judgmental about it as I have been about Christianity in the past, and it really doesn't deserve that kind of contempt. There may be some freaks out there who say they're Satanists and are sacrificing animals and doing all of that horrible stuff we fear, but the great majority of Satanists are not like that. I also learned that one does not need to believe in Satan to be a Satanist. Somehow that seems like an oxymoron, but there you go. Anyway, Manson was friends with Anton LaVey for several years before his death, and LaVey made him an honorary Reverend. I'm not sure that Manson has ever taken the title seriously, but he did have a lot of respect for LaVey.

Manson has lived the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll lifestyle to the hilt, according to his book, and one would expect no less from the self-proclaimed Antichrist superstar. One thing that struck me about this autobiography is that it feels very raw and real, just like the author's music. He is out there--outspoken and honest--and I think that is what makes people either love him or hate him and is also the reason for all the controversy surrounding his music. He tells it like it is and doesn't mince words. He uses profanity. He's real (underneath all of the make-up). It might make people uncomfortable to hear about how his grandfather's cross-dressed and liked bestiality porn, and we might also be shocked to hear that he seriously contemplated killing someone who was ruining his life, but if any of us is really honest we'll have to admit that every family has skeletons in the closet and we've all probably had murderous feelings at one time or another. Do people like to admit these things? No, but Manson does it for us. We hear the good, the bad and the ugly, and secretly we like it.

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